Opinion Piece: Who Is Truly The Superior Spider-Man?

May 13, 2013 Leave a comment

I have begun writing this piece a dozen times over in my head the past couple of days.  So let’s begin at this:  SPOILERS AHEAD.  If you haven’t read Superior Spider-Man #9 and will, go read it.  I’ll wait…

Now, what I’m about to say is probably going to induce some anger, rage, and confusion, but here goes:  this book has actually made me care about Spider-Man again.

Yeah, clean up the spit from your monitor.  You read it right.  A book in which Peter Parker is NOT Spider-Man, has induced something within me that actually makes me want to read about Peter Parker.  That hasn’t been the case for 10 years for me, so I don’t say that lightly.

 

But why would it?  Why should it?

These are the adventures of Doctor Otto Octavius (aka Doctor Octopus), attempting to steal away Peter’s life from him in the most sinister and evil way.  He has changed how Spider-Man is viewed by the average joe, his relationship with the authorities and the media, as well as created suspicion within the ranks of the Avengers themselves.  It brings something that makes me want to see more, and that is something that galvanizes you emotionally.  Love or hate the story/scenario, but you cannot dismiss it offhand as some hokey, shock value move on Marvel’s part as I originally thought myself.

Issue #9 finally brought it home, Peter Parker as it stands now, is dead.  I am certain that he will return, in some form or another, but the fact that Octavius actually bested Peter makes perfect sense.  Peter focused on his guilt and responsibility over Ben’s death to the point of tunnel-vision.  The observations made by Peter as Ock lives his life for him, serve as a reminder as to just how truly inefficient he was as a hero, and how flawed he was a man.  He was selfish by keeping MJ close to him.  He let his brilliant mind atrophy due to his preoccupation with just getting by financially.  Even though these are hard truths to see, they are what made Peter so compelling.  He was a REAL person.

Now that Otto is free from Peter’s “ghost”, he can truly embrace his calling as a hero (as he sees it anyway).  I am torn by wanting to see more.  If you think I want Ock to be Spider-Man, you misunderstand.  I see this as an opportunity for Peter to see just what he was doing wrong.  So much time wasted by patrolling the city, when Ock created a city-wide monitoring system.  He works WITH the police as opposed to around them.  He protects his loved ones by divorcing himself from them, knowing that attacks on him are attacks on them.  Dan Slott has made many mistakes while in charge of Spider-Man (Spider-Island, anyone?), this isn’t one of them.

In the end, I am attracted by the new.  Things I have never seen before.  This story, in the magnitude and scope, has not been done before.  That intrigues me.  And isn’t that WHY we read comics in the first place?  To escape the mundane?  The same stories over and over begin to tire and fatigue me.  I want to wonder.  I want to speculate.  Hell, I want to be AMAZED.  This Superior Spider-Man may be here temporarily, but until he leaves us, he is Amazing to me.

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Categories: Art, Comics, Internet

The Ruins of Cadador, Day 1

February 23, 2013 Leave a comment

In Stormwall,
The adventurers arrived at the Holey Drunk, a tavern whose reputation for watered down drinks was only exceeded by the seediness of its clientele. They were to meet a contact of the so-called, “Lords of the Guilded Cage”. Nahtan mistakenly bought an ale for Sheeva, a female orc who lost her eye to the last suitor who scorned her. Her heart fluttered at this unforseen token of attaction, as the rest of the group enjoys Nahtan’s uncomfortable reactions.
A hooded figure enters and sits next to Tashum & his Oracle. Upon hammering out a deal with the group, the Paladin and his cohorts seek alternative lodgings at the Prancing Hobgoblin, a well known “alternative” watering hole. Fred the Mercurian, the proprietor of the establishment, offered intimate comfort to the Paladin in exchange for lodging, but was rebuffed by him. Fred’s hopes to finally find his prince charming were once again dashed Tashum walked away. He would not forget this latest defeat.
The next morning, they meet their contact at the Deragon Estate, more commonly known as the “Guilded Cage”. Gawain, Lord Nicholas’ most trusted lieutenant, gave our adventurers an advance of 500 gold pieces each and all the data they would need to begin their mission of finding the Serpent Crown. An artifact known to have been worn by famous dictators and murderers, and which could be used to cure Nicholas’ madness.
As they take their leave from Gawain and begin their task, they spy one of the Lords, Percival, treat one of his servants with utter disregard and disdain. As she marched into his chambers to receive an even more humiliating “punishment” at his hands, the group begins their mission…

Categories: Fantasy, Humor Tags:

The Campaign Begins…

January 16, 2013 Leave a comment

The Prologue to the Game I am attempting to run.

For my players mostly, please use this to form the basis of your characters guys.  Everybody else, let me know what you think.

 

The Ruins of Cadador

 

In the beginning, there was the Supreme One.  Out of his thoughts, our universe came to be.  Within that universe we mortals were created.  The Supreme One found, that It could not understand what it created.  It thought the best way to understand, both Itself and It’s creation was to split Itself into many entities.  And so, the Pantheon was born.

The Gods drew upon the desires, thoughts, and devotion of the mortals for sustenance.  Unknown to them, their darkest urges and emotions coalesced into a new entity – The Drakasha or Dark One.  The Gods saw what this could mean to their future, so they created a pocket realm and locked away The Drakasha.

Milennia passed, and Ingra, Goddess of Destruction, created the Vampire race in order to usurp the power of the Pantheon.  Due to the intervention of a few chosen warriors, her plans were halted, but at a terrible cost…  The awakening of The Drakasha.

The warriors sacrificed themselves in order to stop Atavus, Lord and Father of all Vampires, but they were reborn as powerful servitors of the Pantheon in order to combat The Drakasha.  When The Dark One broke free of its prison the Gods threw all of its strongest champions and creations to battle it.  The Drakasha looked upon this Infinite Host, and waved a flicker of its newly freed power…  And erased them all from eternity.

The Gods had not foreseen its strength, and fell into direct combat themselves.  They were no match for it.  As a last resort, the Pantheon decided unanimously to recombine themselves into the Supreme One, and battled The Drakasha.  Both cosmic beings were equal in strength and obliterated each other…

Now, 1,500 years after the conflagration, the world of Cadador has returned to some semblance of normalcy.  Unfortunately, the embers of past conflicts are reigniting, and somewhere deep within our world… something has been torn asunder and must be repaired if our realm is to survive…

Categories: Gaming

Hero Academy: Why Are You Still Reading This and NOT Playing?

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Where else can Team Fortress shoot up some medieval knights?

IN THE BEGINNING…

If you’ve been living under a rock (or don’t have an iOS device) you’ve probably never heard of Hero Academy.  Well, you’re in luck!  I just spent the better part of my weekend tinkering and countering the newest team, in the game:  the Team Fortress goons.

Let’s start with the basics:  the initial game is free on any iOS device and comes with The Council (them medieval lookin’ peeps above).  If you ask regular players, they’ll tell you that they’re pretty frelling broken.  They are an overall great team with good synergies, and an easy couple of tactics and combos that can exploited to maximum efficiency in the hands of an experienced player.

All you really need to know about the game to like it is:  If you loved Final Fantasy Tactics, you will love the absolute shit out of this game.  I know I do.  I started playing back during the Super Bowl and it is consistently by go-to app whenever I need a quick tussle.  The asynchronous turn-based nature of the game makes it easy to pick up and put down.

STICKS AND STONES… AND KATANAS?

The game revolves around a “deck”.  This deck comes with all of your units, gear, spells, and items.  It is shuffled and the beginning of the game and you slowly draw from it as you use up your “cards”.  The tray at the bottom of your screen is your “hand”.  Each turn you may use up your 5 Action Points (AP) in order to give commands to your units, or play a “card” from your hand.  You may also exchange a card in your hand from a random card from the deck for an AP per swap.

Winning the match can be done in two ways:  annihilating your opponent’s units or destroying their crystals.  It sounds easier than it actually is sometimes…

Each unit comes with their own stats (HP, Damage, Damage Type, Resistances, Range, Movement, and Special Attributes).  I will not go into this more in depth, you guys can figure that part out.  All units come in 5 flavors:  Fighter (tank), Shooter (Physical Dmg), Mage (Magical Dmg), Support (Buffs and Debuffs), and your Super Unit (Ridiculously powerful units).

THE LITTLE STEAM ENGINE THAT COULD

Now this past weekend, HA has finally crossed over into the PC realm by having in available via Steam.  It’s not free ($4.99 for the basic model), but the plus is that it is completely ad free (the iOS version is ad supported until you make a purchase), and you get Team Fortress as well and The Council (will all their avatar packs too, at $2.99 cost per pack normally).  Now any other teams do cost you an additional couple bucks, but once bought, they cross over both the PC and iOS versions.

Currently there are 5 teams:  The Council, Team Fortress, the Dark Elves, the Dwarves, and The Tribe (orcs).  Each have very different playstyles and unique abilities.  Easy to learn, hard to master.

There is really nothing else I can tell you about this game other than this, if you’re a newbie be prepared to get ROFL-stomped.  8 months into the game, and a lot of the experienced players can destroy your face fairly easily by using their teams’ abilities creatively.  Do not be discouraged.  Ask questions, there is a chat interface for a reason.  Most people I have seen are fairly polite and nobody I have played has been a blatant ass… yet.

If you feel like you need pointers or want to try it out in a stress-free environment, my Player Name is, of course, 5yphon.  Send me a challenge.  I won’t bite.  Unless you want me to.  See you there!

Categories: Gaming, PC, Technology

Trailer Lovin’

August 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Sorry about last week, but there was nothing interesting.  This week’s a bit better!

Kung-fu AND steampunk?  YES, PLEASE!

 

 

I don’t know how to feel about this…  I loved the original, but North Koreans invading the U.S.?  A bit FAR fetched, don’t you think?

 

 

If you DON’T want to see this, we can’t be friends anymore.

Categories: Cartoon, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Movies

Superman: Abandoned?

August 3, 2012 1 comment

Recently, the subject of Superman has been coming up in some discussions.   Long story short, a friend of mine asked the populace, “What about Superman makes you say, ‘Fuck this guy’?”  I cannot speak for anyone else’s opinion of the character, but let’s go over what my experiences with the character are, his faults, and what can be done to fix them.

A Primer on Kryptonians

Superman (or Clark Kent, or Kal-El) is a full-blooded Kryptonian.  Under a yellow sun, his powers are the numerous and friggin’ god-like.  His alien biology metabolizes yellow sunlight into inhuman strength (literally enough to push planets out of their orbits), heat-vision, x-ray vision, microscopic vision (enough to see a person’s DNA), telescopic vision (enough to see individual people from orbit), super-hearing (described as being sensitive enough to hear cells divide), super-breath, super-speed (second fastest being next to Flash) and reflexes, flight, enhanced durability (described as having skin tough enough to withstand any non-military ordinance with ease), a healing factor, ridiculous stamina, increased intelligence (more on this later), and an eidetic memory.  Got all that?

His weaknesses number the following, magic (simply because it ignores his inhuman biology and physics) or Kryptonite (there are many flavors, which I will not go into now).

If you were a burglar, would you really want to tussle with this guy?

Superman vs the World

Now that we have a grasp as to what we’re dealing with on a pure physical level, we can now examine what I believe, to be his greatest weakness as a character:  external conflicts.  With the laundry list of powers that Smallville has, writing an external conflict that actually challenges him, is next to impossible to do on a regular basis.  I honestly do not envy any Superman writers out there.  The only fights in which Superman is seen losing are when he is fighting Darkseid who is a god (magic), other Kryptonians (which goes to whoever has a better grasp of Kryptonian powers, usually Superman), or Lex Luthor (who almost always uses Kryptonite).

Essentially external conflicts boil down to eliminating Kal’s overwhelming superior physical prowess, or using something stronger.  Which brings us to:  Doomsday. I will say this once, and ONLY once:

THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN WAS A COP OUT.

Why?  Superhuman speed and reflexes.  Doomsday should NEVER HAVE EVEN LANDED A SINGLE PUNCH.  But WHY did he lose?  I honestly believe that the writers just couldn’t come up with a way to kill him dramatically.  I mean Doomsday was essentially the Hulk, and Hulk couldn’t beat Superman.  He doesn’t have the speed.  I feel that in order to make Clark feel physically challenged, he need foes that are on par with him at all times.  Hence, why the New Krypton arc was so engrossing.  He could die at any time because everybody was as strong as him and he was outnumbered a million to one.  DC needs to de-power him to make him fit in with the rest of the villains.  THAT will fix these issues, and that will make seeing him in a fight actually have some meaning.

WHY THE FUCK, IS HE NOT DODGING?

To further elaborate the point,

The blue bar is his health, the red bar is his power meter.  Clark takes little damage from attacks, has multiple ways to attack/get away, regenerates health at a ridiculous pace, and SHOULD you actually be in danger of dying, just fly straight up into the sky and the sun’s rays will regenerate your powers/life.  JUST LIKE THE FUCKING COMIC.  This game got it right, but it’s still a piece of shit.  DC FIX IT.

The Thinking Man

The best Superman stories involve Kal dealing with the issues what it’s like to have all this power and being unable to fix the world at its most basic needs.  Read A Superman For All Seasons, you’ll get my point.  These kinds of stories pit Clark’s powers against the woes of the world.  When he fought the Elite over becoming more violent, he chose to not kill them because he was proving that might does not equal right.  I don’t think I need to say anything about All-Star Superman that wiser men than I have not already said.  There are plenty of stories that feature this as their main draw, and as good as these stories are, the problem arises in the fact that eventually you WILL run out of introspection.  There are only so many times that Clark can go “Why can’t I be everywhere?” before it gets old.  If these questions keep coming up and not resolved, the character languishes in an emotional limbo and doesn’t evolve.  Stagnation is also BORING.

Actually, Smallville,you really CAN be everywhere…

The ideals and values of Superman have lasted 80 years for a reason:  heroes are the best of us.  We look up to their example and emulate them as best we can.  I did not write this to crucify the guy, I am simply showing the missteps that the writers have taken.  De-power him.  Keep the struggles and the characterization that Grant Morrison has established in the current Action Comics run.  Make his fights MEAN something.  People do not want to read about a walking demigod that saves people from tornados and feels like he needed to be in Italy stopping a volcano.  And for God’s sake, give him more compelling villains than bald CEO.

I will continue to read Superman when I can.  I hope you do too.

Batman can still kick his ass.

Categories: Comics, Movies, Sci-fi

Trailer Lovin’

July 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I have renamed the column.  Got a problem with that?

I believe that there are no words necessary to show how much ass this is going to kick.

Weird.  But it has promise.  I just hope the robot actor is good.

Once, again.  Good promise, but I see the shadow of Ferngully…

See ya next week!

Categories: Fantasy, Humor, Internet, Movies, Sci-fi
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